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Daily Helping for May 26th, 2021 – Dead to Me

A photo still from an episode of Dead to Me. Lead actors Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini are in a kitchen, staring intensely at someone out of frame.

Remember Sunday’s daily helping and how I talked about my desire for stories that are more character driven than plot driven? Well, today’s helping is a perfect example of this. Dead to Me is a Netflix series staring Christina Applegate as Jen and Linda Cardellini as Judy. Jen’s husband was recently killed in a hit and run car accident, and Judy is mourning the loss of her fiancĂ©. The two women meet at a grief support group and form a bond over their shared losses. Dead to Me is darkly hilarious and emotionally raw in all the right ways. And it should be everything I love about storytelling. And yet…

Full disclosure, I have so far only watched the first episode of Dead to Me, in keeping with the rules of this challenge. And at first, I was 100% all in for this show. The relationship dynamic between Jen and Judy is incredibly interesting, and the show promises a deeper look into how grief manifests and shapes different people and personalities. In other words, an incredibly fascinating character study of these two women. Count me in!

And then, in the final minute of the last episode, they threw in a plot twist that hinted at a larger mystery that would in all likelihood be unravelled in bits over the course of the show. And just like that I was out. It’s hard to explain why, because it’s not like I don’t enjoy a good mystery or a densely plotted story. It just wasn’t what I wanted out of this show based on the first 30 minutes of it. I just wanted to get to know these characters and sit with them. Watch them grow within themselves and with each other. Not have an overarching mystery hanging over my head as their story and relationship progressed.

I also very much know that I’m in the minority here. I know that these sorts of plot hooks are deemed necessary in today’s era of binge watching. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Maybe one day I’ll come back to this show, but in the meantime, I have other characters to get to know on a more deeper level.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!